Easy Rider: The Ride Back will be hitting movie screens in October. The film delves into the story of Wyatt ‘Captain America’ Williams and the history of his family.
Did Wyatt really die in that shotgun blast? And who was Wyatt ‘Captain America’ Williams? Where’d he come from, and how did he end up the chopper-riding, freedom-seeking rabble rouser that he was? For enquiring minds that want to know, the answers can be found in Easy Rider: The Ride Back, a new prequel to the original motorcycle movie and cult classic, Easy Rider, that aims to answer these questions and more when it debuts in October.
Who knew what impact a low-budget film made by a fresh young director involving controversial topics of the 1960s would have on the movie industry? But 40 years later, Easy Rider remains an iconic testimony to biker culture and ranks as one of the top 100 AFI movies of all time at number 88. It would spark the ‘New Hollywood’ phase of filmmaking where the big studios realized that low budget filmmaking in the hands of the right creative director could be just as successful as a high-dollar blockbuster.
According to Easy Rider: The Ride Back PR, the movie is part sequel, part prequel. It will “delve into the lineage of Wyatt ‘Captain America’ Williams and the families’ trials and tribulations throughout the decades of the ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ‘70s to present day. Juxtaposed against the families’ love affair with motorcycles, the film delves into issues of love, war, honor, and redemption, while keeping true to the spirit of the original film: the iconic ‘Buddy Ride’ and the idea of continuing search for freedom in an America that is struggling to find its identity.”
We met actress Sheree J. Wilson, writer/actor Phil Pitzer,
Sheree J. Wilson stars as Wyatt’s little sister, Shane, in the new movie. She also served as a co-producer.
and executive producer Vince Morella of Easy Rider: The Ride Back during this year’s Sturgis rally. They were at the Silverado Casino in Deadwood, SD, to take part in the Legends Ride. The trio was on hand to promote the movie and to have a little fun (it was Sturgis, after all). The crew was just back from a rousing reception in Cannes, where the original Easy Rider won an award during the Cannes Film Festival back when it debuted in 1969. Wilson, best known for her role as District Attorney Alex Cahill on the TV series Walker, Texas Ranger, portrays Wyatt’s little sister, Shane, in the new movie and works behind the scenes as one of the film’s co-producers. Morella has been busy serving as executive producer on both Easy Rider: The Ride Back and another project due out in 2010 called Burning Palms.
But it’s Pitzer who has the most invested in the movie. Not only does he play Morgan Williams, the younger brother of Wyatt, but the project is his conception. He co-wrote the script along with director Dustin Rikert and has spent the last six years seeing this project to fruition, not only helping to write the script for the new movie, but in writing another segment entitled Easy Rider: The Search Continues.
Phil Pitzer (with hands on hips) is a dead ringer for a young Peter Fonda. The idea for Easy Rider: The Ride Back is his brainchild, and he co-wrote and stars in the film.
“What I did is I studied the original film. I wanted to make sure that this film was true to that in tone and texture. We’ve taken the Peter Fonda character, who in the first one had no last name and we knew nothing about, and we created a back story for him. He now has a family, he has a couple of brothers, he’s got a sister (points to Sheree) and we learn about how he came to be,” Pitzer said.
Pitzer also talked about the timeliness of Easy Rider, and how it encapsulated issues like the rise and fall of the hippie movement, drug use, communal lifestyle, and racism.
“The original addressed issues at that time that nobody was talking about on film. We tried to bring it up to present day and we’re trying to deal with some present-day issues in the same way. And we’re back to the campfire scenes and back to the same energy that I think people will appreciate,” Pitzer added.
Easy Rider: The Ride Back is a Pan Am Pictures project. It stars Chris Engen as Virgil Williams, Michelle Borth as Vannessa Monteague, Thomas Blankenship as Young Hickock, and Jeff Fahey as Wes Coast. About now, I expect that Wilson, Pitzer, and Morella are in Milwaukee, WI, at the Harley-Davidson Rally and Bike Show promoting the movie. They will follow that up with a visit to the Trail of
Motorcycle USA’s Cruiser Editor, Bryan Harley, mugs for a shot with the stars of Easy Rider II, Phil Pitzer and Sheree J. Wilson at the Legends Ride during Sturgis 2009.
Tears to participate in a ride that begins in Chattanooga, TN and ends in Florence, AL. on Sept. 18-20. After that, we hope to catch up with them at Las Vegas Bike Fest on Oct. 1-4, where I hear they plan on having a special sneak preview showing. Then they’re off to Daytona Beach, FL for Biketoberfest.
If you plan on attending any of these events, be sure to stop by and say ‘Hi.’ The cast is more than happy to talk about their new film. And you can’t miss Pitzer. He’s a dead ringer for a younger Peter Fonda. I mistook him for Fonda when I first saw him in Deadwood, SD, at the Legends Ride.
‘Captain America’ rides again.
*Be sure to check out the video to hear Sheree and Phil talk about the soon-to-be released film.